It's important to think ahead and plan for snow and ice storms, extreme cold, fire and carbon monoxide incidents, intruders, active shooters, etc. with your employees well being and safety in mind.
Snow and Ice Storms
Responses to snow and ice storms are the most common winter alerts for most businesses. When freezing precipitation begins, employees start checking for snow day status. Keep your people informed of closures, road conditions, etc.
Let employees know who should report to work, who should work from home, what hours the building will be open or if the business is closed altogether.
Extreme winter cold puts both your people and your property at risk. Employees – especially those who work outdoors– are vulnerable to a variety of exposure risks. Hypothermia can occur at any temperature below body temperature, but the colder the weather the greater the risk. Frostbite can occur in as little as 15 minutes when temperatures near zero degrees.
Remind employees to dress in layers including a wind and water repellent top layer. Encourage all employees to prepare and carry a personal emergency kit. This should include an emergency blanket, a flashlight, food and water.
Frozen pipes can cause significant, costly damage to your property. Not only are pipes leading to water faucets, coffee makers, water coolers and restrooms at risk, but fire suppression systems can be an easily overlooked vulnerability.
Reminders to facilitate personnel to prepare and check vulnerable plumbing during the cold. Remind all employees how to identify potentially frozen pipes and where to report the issue.
Fire and Carbon Monoxide
Although the overall risk of fires decreases in winter, FEMA reports that the incidence of structural fires in homes and businesses increases. Increased use of portable heaters, fireplaces, candles, holiday lighting, and cooking equipment increases the risk of fire.
Most companies already conduct regular fire drills. Adding a critical communications plan to your fire prevention and response program adds a valuable layer of extra security for your people.
Notification that a fire has been reported with a reminder of what to do. Provide fire safety tips and links to company policies.
The holidays can be a difficult time for many people, especially individuals with mental health issues or dysfunctional family/domestic situations. In addition, end of year performance appraisals, updated compensation plans, and job realignments can increase employee anxiety. Today’s difficult reality is that even personal issues can escalate into workplace violence all too easily and all businesses must be prepared for such incidents.
If your company has an employee assistance program, the onset of the stressful holiday season is a great time to send employees a reminder about the program with instructions for how to request help.
Have a prepared alert redy to send immediately if a workplace violence incident occurs. Immediate notification with clear instructions for lockdown or evacuation procedures can save lives.
Most businesses alter their operating hours and schedule closures during the end of year holiday season so it is important to keep employees and customers informed about scheduling changes that might potentially affect them.
A simple notice outining which days the company will be closed is helpful for both employees and customers. For employees, additional information about which days qualify for floating holidays and a list of emergency contacts are often appreciated.
The end of the year is a great time to clean up your systems. At most companies the office is quiet, there is not much going on, and data in your systems is not changing as much as usual. For non-retail businesses, this is a great time to schedule IT maintenance, schedule security scans, clean up the CRM, and backup electronic files. Document and record retention policy reminders are often helpful at this time of year.
If you have not already updated your emergency contact and employee notification contact list with the onset of winter, year-end is also an excellent time to schedule the chore. You’ll begin the year better prepared for whatever unforeseen events might occur.
Let employees know about any pending IT system or building maintenance scheduled for the end of the year.
Send instructions for end of year electronic backup and security processes that your employees need to implement. Reiterate company record retention and security policies.
You can download the info-sheet here, and have a safe winter!